52 Loss and Victory

TO SAY that Tilly was shocked would be an understatement.

[I'm the Supreme Fire Mage?]

Although she had only met Captain Denver recently, she knew that he wouldn't lie. Still, she had so many questions for him. But as soon as she opened her mouth, she just coughed blood again. The pain in her chest had also gotten worse.

Captain Denver stood and put his hands on her shoulders. "Lady Prescott, what did you ask the Red Phoenix to do?"

"Kill the bitch," Tilly answered when her coughing stopped. "I asked the phoenix to kill Her Royal Highness."

The captain gasped. "Take it back, Lady Prescott. You can't ask the replica of the Red Phoenix to kill a royal family member!"

"Shut up," she said while glaring at him. The wrath in her chest hadn't diminished yet so she wasn't in the mood to be polite right now. "You have no idea what the princess has done to me. I have to kill her now before she kills me again."

"I'm saying this for your own good, Lady Prescott," he insisted. "The replicas of the Four Ancient Beasts are programmed to self-destruct if they hurt any member of the royal family– especially His Majesty and Her Royal Highness! If the replica of the Red Phoenix dies, you'll get hurt as well!"

"Why would I die if it's just a replica?"

"The royal family had inserted a piece of the original Supreme Fire Mage's heart inside the replica to make it alive," he explained. "Your current heart is incomplete, Lady Prescott. Several pieces are either hidden or stolen. And a part of it is inside the replica."


"I'll explain it later," he said. "But you have to stop now before you hurt yourself even more!"

"I don't care," she hissed. "This is my chance to kill the bitch–"

"I hear two heartbeats in your body, Lady Prescott!"

That made her freeze.

"You are pregnant," Captain Denver said. "We don't know what will happen to you if you kill the princess using the replica. Would you sacrifice your child for that?"


Of course not.

"We can kill the royal family next time," the captain continued. "But if you lose your child now, we can't bring him back anymore."

That was more than enough to put out the flame of wrath in her chest.

[Winter…] She carefully placed her hands on her belly. [Mommy is sorry for almost putting your life in danger.]

"Have you calmed down?" the captain asked. "You shouldn't strain yourself when you're pregnant, silly."

She was about to say something when the ground shook hard. She lost balance but thankfully, Captain Denver caught her in time. To be honest, now that she had calmed down, she was starting to feel exhausted.

The shaking of the ground hadn't stopped yet when they heard a loud bang. And a very menacing aura that made her shiver in fear.

"What was that?" Tilly asked under her breath. "The pressure is heavy…"

"It's the emperor's unleashed power," Captain Denver said while looking at the direction of the castle. Then, he swallowed hard– fear evident on his face. "His Majesty is probably releasing the real Ancient Beasts!"


AS SOON as Kiho felt the replica of the Red Phoenix break the barrier around Castle Vania, he immediately ran as fast as he could back to the castle. Captain Sherwood definitely felt it too because he flew towards the castle at the speed of light. He hated to admit this but his legs couldn't catch up with the other captain's ability to fly.

But he didn't want to get left behind so he froze the ground with ice. Then, he created ice skate under his hunting boots and slid into it swiftly.

When he got to the castle, he saw Captain Sherwood using his wind attribute to make the debris float so that everyone running out of the castle wouldn't get hurt. The tower were the emperor and the princess were staying was destroyed.

He instantly thought of Tilly. She was a close friend of the princess. But he hoped that his wife wasn't with Her Royal Highness at this moment.

"Captain Kiho!" Captain Sherwood shouted. "Go and protect His Majesty and Her Royal Highness! I will evacuate everyone and make sure that your wife is safe! So please, go and do your job as a captain!"

Kiho nodded, then he leapt from balcony to balcony to reach the top of the tower.

[Captain Sherwood, please make sure Tilly will be safe until I return.]

When he reached the room where the replica of the Red Phoenix was, he was shocked. Lahara and Princess Nia were being burned alive!

Both were already unconscious.


When he stepped foot in the room, she froze the floor with ice and tried to enclose Princess Nia and Lahara in a giant ice sphere. But the Red Phoenix's flame thawed his ice easily.

[Damn it!]

He tried to attack the phoenix but he stopped when the ground shook hard. The next thing he knew, the windows and all the glasses in the room were already broken, and so was the door. And, uh, the roof also collapsed.

He used an ice barrier to protect Princess Nia, Lahara, and himself from the debris.

[This is His Majesty's doing…]

Kiho's knees almost gave up when he felt the immense pressure coming from Emperor Aku who just entered the room. The emperor's body was oozing with a golden and blue light combined. Not only that.

His Majesty was also being escorted by real Ancient Beasts.

On the emperor's left side was the Golden Tiger ten times bigger than an ordinary tiger. And on his right side was the Blue Dragon. It seemed to have shrunk but the oozing aura from it hadn't changed.

"A mere replica…" Emperor Aku started in a very angry but low voice. "How dare a mere replica hurt my beloved princess?"

When the emperor raised his arm, the Golden Tiger roared and attacked the Red Phoenix.

On the other hand, the Blue Dragon's tail wrapped its tail around Princess Nia and brought her to the emperor. Surprisingly, as soon as Emperor Aku carried Princess Nia's burnt body, the flame burning Her Royal Highness disappeared.

Ordinary people wouldn't see it but His Majesty was covered by what they called the Divine Protection. Attacks from the Four Ancient Beasts wouldn't work on him. And since the emperor was now carrying the princess in his arms, the Divine Protection nullified the Red Phoenix's flame so His Majesty wouldn't get hurt.

[He's the emperor for a reason.]

But unfortunately, Princess Nia didn't have a Divine Protection. From where he stood, he could see that Her Royal Highness's body was severely burned. The princess's skin seemed to be suffering from third degree burn.

Despite that tragedy, the princess was still lucky to be alive. If it wasn't for Her Royal Highness's powerful Mana, she would have definitely been burned to ashes. He could feel the princess's Mana all over the room. That only meant she used all the magical abilities she had to protect herself from the phoenix's flame.

[If Her Royal Highness is weak, she would have turned to ashes in just under one minute.]

That was the case for Lahara.

The mage-knight was still alive despite being burned alive.

[Shit, she's still being burned!]

Emperor Aku created a barrier around him and Princess Nia in the form of a golden light. It seemed like the emperor was trying to give first aid to the princess using his "pure Mana."

That meant the emperor didn't care about anyone else at the moment.

Kiho knew it was up to him to save Lahara.

He turned to the replica of the Red Phoenix that was being overpowered by the Golden Tiger right now.

[A replica is just a replica when it's faced with a real Ancient Beast.]

The Red Phoenix was now on the floor while the Golden Tiger was pinning its wings with its claws. That had to hurt. No wonder the red bird was crying in pain. And it seemed like the Golden Tiger had done something to paralyze the phoenix.

Kiho used that opportunity to attack. He got his rifle, then shot the Red Phoenix's left eye first. Then, the right. The flaming bird let out a shriek.

The Golden Tiger leapt backwards away from the Red Phoenix.

He raised both his hands and used almost all the remaining strength he had to create an ice sphere big and strong enough to enclose the flaming bird. He thought the flame would melt his ice again. But it seemed like the phoenix's flame weakened when it was paralyzed.

And so, he succeeded in entrapping the Red Phoenix in the ice sphere.

That left him catching his breath though. Still, he was relieved to see that the flame burning Lahara was extinguished when the Red Phoenix was entrapped.

[I've used up almost all the Mana I have.]

But he knew it was far from over.

When Kiho turned to Emperor Aku, he saw the emperor silently cry so he immediately turned away. But before he did, he already saw Princess Nia's terrible state. The emperor's healing power didn't work on Her Royal Highness.

Princess Nia's body was still in deep red– a clear sign that the degree of burn she received was very bad.

[His Majesty will definitely lose his mind over this.]

But to be honest, he wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Tilly was also in the castle. He wanted to make sure that she was safe.

[Tilly, you're okay, right?] Kiho asked in his mind. [Please stay safe, honey.]


TILLY was surprised when the pain in her chest suddenly disappeared. She also didn't feel like coughing blood. But she suddenly felt a sharp pang in her belly.

She gasped aloud while holding her stomach carefully.

"Lady Prescott?" Captain Denver asked worriedly. "What's happening?"

"Captain Denver, my baby…" Tilly said while losing consciousness. "Please save him…"


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